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Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Greatest Gift Cost the Giver Everything BY RICK WARREN — DECEMBER 23 Saturday

“Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin” (Romans 3:24-25 The Message). 
The greatest gift you’ve ever been given wasn’t bought in a store. No cash exchanged hands. It wasn’t even wrapped.
Yet it cost the Giver everything.
The Bible says God sent his Son to Earth to give you the greatest gift ever. He came to Earth to die and make you right with God. Romans 3:24-25 says, “Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin” (The Message).
So why did Jesus have to die? Let’s go back to the basics. 
  • Nobody’s perfect. I’ve never met a single person who has claimed to be perfect. I don’t measure up to my own expectations, much less God’s perfect standard. Neither do you. We’ve all blown it. The Bible says, “All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23 CEV).
  • God is just. God wants to be fair. When somebody breaks a law, there must be a penalty for it. When you break man’s laws, you pay man’s penalty. When you break God’s laws, you pay God’s penalties. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death” (NIV).
  • Jesus paid the price for our sin. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!” (TLB) Jesus took on my sin and your sin and all the sin that has ever been committed. That’s the Good News, the Gospel: Jesus paid the price you could never pay.
  • Accept God’s free gift. God gave us a free gift of salvation when Jesus took our sin upon himself. It’s a gift we must receive. The Bible says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 NIV).
Will you accept God’s free gift of salvation? It’s one thing to understand the basics of how to have a relationship with Jesus. It’s another to accept the gift.
I pray you will make that all-important decision today. Here is a prayer you can pray:
Prayer:
“Dear God, I’m scared, but I want to get to know you. I don’t understand it all, but I thank you that you love me. I thank you that you were with me even when I didn’t recognize it. I thank you that you are for me, that you didn’t send Jesus to condemn me but to save me. 
“Today I want to receive the Christmas gift of your Son. I ask you to save me from my past, my regrets, my mistakes, my sins, my habits, my hurts, and my hang-ups. Save me from myself. 
“I ask you to save me for your purpose. I want to know why you put me on this planet. And I want to fulfill what you made me to do. I want to learn to love you and trust you and have a relationship with you. 
“I need peace with you, God, and I need you to put your peace in my heart. I need you to take away the stress and fill me with your love. Help me be a peacemaker and help others find peace with you and each other. In your name I pray. Amen.”
If you prayed the prayer above, please write and tell me at Rick@PastorRick.com. I’d love to send you some materials as you begin your journey with Jesus.
If you still have questions or want to learn more about becoming a follower of Christ, watch this video: What does it mean to be saved?
Talk It Over
  • Outside of your salvation, what’s the most memorable gift you’ve ever received?
  • Why is it hard to accept a free, extravagant gift?
  • Who in your life needs to hear about God’s great gift? Who can you invite to attend a Christmas service with you? It’s not too late!
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